LIBERTY TWP., Ohio -- A 16-year-old charged with attempted murder after police say he tried to burn down his home in Liberty Township with his parents inside is scheduled to appear in a Butler County juvenile courtroom Tuesday to find out whether he will be charged as an adult.
The judge will also rule on the teen's mental status and potential change of venue for the trial.
The teen hugged his crying mother and shook hands with his father on Nov. 5 in the courtroom as the prosecutor revealed the teen admitted to setting two fires inside the home.
The prosecutor also told the judge he will seek to try the teen as an adult and said that the teen had admitted to setting two fires inside the home on Oct. 23.
Defense attorney Brad Kraemer requested a competency evaluation for teen and a change of venue.
"There have been many attempts to portray this kid as something that he's not and much worse than what he is," Kraemer said. "He's still a 16-year-old kid. He's a scared kid. He's got rights. There are a lot of things that have to happen before he can be put in an adult prison which is what we've seen is everyone's goal at this point."
The judge amended a no contact order so the teen’s parents can visit him but only under supervision. The parents also were ordered not to discuss the case with their son.
The courtroom reunion of the teen with his tearful mother and his wheelchair-bound father whose legs were injured when he jumped from the second floor of the family’s burning home marked a stark contrast with the teen Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones accuses of concocting a "cold, calculated plot."
Investigators say they found records and journals written by the teen depicting how he was going to set fire to the home. The journal included information on how he would tie the door shut to his parent's bedroom so they couldn't escape.
The incident happened at about 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the family’s home in the 7100 block of Tarragon Court, according to police.
Investigators say they found the 50-year-old father of the Lakota West High School student outside of the home after he jumped from a second-story window to escape the flames.
Liberty Township fire crews rescued the suspect's 56-year-old mother from her second-story bedroom.
Both were taken to West Chester Medical Center. The suspect's father suffered a broken leg and his mother received treatment and was released after suffering minor injuries, according to police.
After investigators spoke with the couple’s son, he was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson.
9 On Your Side reporter Jay Warren spoke with a teacher and a classmate of the suspect at Lakota West.
The teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, described the suspect as a "straight 'A' student" who is taking Advanced Placement psychology, honors physics and honors pre-calculus.
Lakota West student Dominique Lewis said the teen wasn’t isolated at school.
"He seems like he was a good guy he didn't talk a lot a lot but when I talk to him he seemed like he was good I wasn't expecting anything bad out of him," the student said.
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